The President's Desk: Andrés Spokoiny

Andrés Spokoiny is President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network. Full bio >>

Looking Beyond the Horizon (Tisha B'Av 5781)

The word “horizon” is tricky. We generally refer to the horizon as an indication of expansiveness, even limitlessness. But etymologically, the word means exactly the opposite. It comes from the Greek word “horizein,” which means “limit.” The horizon is, in fact, the limit of our vision — in Hebrew, as well, where the word for horizon, “ofek,” has the same root as “restrain, constraint, limit.”

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What Really Happened at Mount Sinai? (Shavuot 5781)

According to Midrash, all the souls of the future generations were present at Mount Sinai the moment the Torah was given. As a child, I believed this to be literally true, which posed some challenges to my young mind. First, was I among those that built the golden calf? And if I was there, why didn’t I remember any of it? I did try to picture myself there, imagining myself as an extra in “The 10 Commandments” looking at Charlton Heston from afar.

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Of Oysters and Israel (Yom Ha'atzma'ut 5781)

One article changed my whole view of Zionism.

Since I’d grown up in a strongly Zionist environment, from my home to my day school to my camp, believing that Israel was a model country that could do no wrong, the article should have produced a crisis, and maybe even threatened my attachment to the Zionist idea. Yet, it did the exact opposite.

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As We Leave Egypt and Covid, We Cannot Simply ‘Go Back’ To the Past (Passover 5781)

If you have a European or Middle Eastern heritage and you grow up in the Southern Hemisphere, you suffer from permanent cognitive dissonance. You may read about stars and constellations, but you’ll never see the Ursa Major in the sky. Or you’ll find it between funny and pathetic to celebrate midwinter traditions — designed for colder climes — in the sweltering summer heat.

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Resilience Isn’t Enough. We Need 'Renaissilience'

JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny's presidential address at the JFN 2021 International Conference, delivered online on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

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Overcoming the Revival of 'Hamanism' (Purim 5781)

Ridiculousness is one of the central characteristics of Purim. On this holiday, we are not afraid to be silly and absurd. We don funny costumes; we drink ourselves into oblivion; we are boisterous and noisy.

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Defying Entropy (Tu Bishvat 5781)

It takes just 13 seconds to chop down a tree with an ax. If you must know, New Zealander David Bolstad holds the world record of “underhand chop” at 12.28 seconds. With a mechanical saw, which is how most chopping occurs these days, it takes about half that (and the record for that is 5.085 seconds, held by American Matt Bush).

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Lighting a Path into the Future (Hanukkah 5781)

Sorry to break it to you, but Hanukkah is not that unique.

Almost every culture has a midwinter holiday in which light is the main protagonist. From the Norse Yule, to Christmas, to Diwali. It seems that, as the days shorten and the sun retreats, the fear of darkness inscribed in the human DNA takes over.

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The Covid Content Revolution

"Overwhelmed as we are with the threat that Covid presents to our institutions, we tend to forget a quiet revolution that is taking place during the pandemic: the democratization of quality."

 

Read article on eJewish Philanthropy

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Covid Was Not a Crash Diet

Anybody who, like me, has ever tried to lose weight – and failed – has experienced some of the harsh realities of dieting. At the beginning, you get really encouraged, take decisive action, and see the results right away. The pounds seem to fall off, and those old jeans suddenly fit again.

But then progress slugs. You plateau and, little by little, you start gaining weight again. Well, you tell yourself, after that run I earned that cookie, didn’t I? You fail to realize the two key truths about dieting: that certain practices, like exercise, portion control, and no-snacking, need to become a way of life, and that every stage requires different actions. The exercise routine that helped you lose your first five pounds may not be effective for the next 10. And your carbs strategy needs to be different: You can totally cut them for two weeks, but can you sustain that over time?

 

Read full article — a Message for the National Day of Philanthropy — in eJewish Philanthropy.

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